Dear Smiley: The Ash Wednesday observance reminded me of the story about the family that had their young child with them during the service where they received ashes.

They asked the child if he understood the meaning of having ashes placed on their forehead.

The child replied that he was puzzled by the use of the term "butt dust" that the priest used in administering the ashes: "Remember, man, that thou art but dust, and into dust thou shalt return."

ERNIE GREMILLION

Baton Rouge

Agony of de feet

Dear Smiley: I was laughing at all the shoe stories until I remembered this:

My mom was born and grew up in Chackbay, and though she’s traveled extensively and now lives in Terrytown, she is a country girl at heart.

Several years ago, I stopped at her house to take her to lunch at Piccadilly Cafeteria.

She had gotten all fixed up and had on one of those cute color-coordinated pants suits.

She couldn’t wait to get some of that thin-fried catfish, and met me in the driveway as I pulled in.

Getting out of the car, I heard her exclaim, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!”

For my 90-year-old mother, calling out the “Big Three” was extreme.

I came around the car to discover she hadn’t worn any shoes! You can take the girl out of the country, but…

PAT COUGEVAN

Mandeville

Home sweet stadium

Dear Smiley: About stories of living in Tiger Stadium:

In the early ‘60s, the stadium was a comparatively cheap place to live for us “financially challenged” students.

Occupancy varied from 2 to 4 students per room; heat was provided by a hot water system that continuously cracked and moaned as the pipes expanded and contracted, and no A/C.

Beds were old metal military type, which most of the time were missing springs, and came with a thin cotton-filled mattress. The beds could stand alone or be stacked two high, depending on the number of occupants and size of the room.

Bathrooms were community style, usually serving 5 to 8 dorm rooms. There were up to 5 floors and no elevators.

While this may seem like Stone Age accommodations by today’s standards, to us at that time it was home, and we were glad to have it.

Would not trade the experience for anything — and there was no better place when LSU played a home football game.

CLAUDE CATANIA

Maurepas

Dear Claude: Do you realize you just described the average prison cell?

Mom's ghost story

Dear Smiley: Mention of having to get up to change the channel on TVs brought back memories of my first TV.

In the mid '60s I bought a TV that had a remote control. When you pressed the button on the remote, a small metal ball would be shot against a metal rod inside, which would produce a certain tone. Each tone controlled a different function. One was for turning the TV on and off.

Sometimes when the phone would ring in the house, the TV would turn on by itself.

Scared the heck out of my mother one day, when she heard voices coming from my room and no one else was home.

RICKY SIZELER

Destrehan

Parking religiously

Dear Smiley: Reading reasons some people back into parking spaces brought to my mind why my brother-in-law and two sisters back into parking spaces.

Being a non-Catholic, I attended church with them once and my brother in-law-backed into his parking space.

I asked with curiosity, "Why do you back into your parking space?" My sister responded, “So we can leave quickly and not get caught in church traffic."

Reminded me of the Baptists who sit on the back row to exit quickly. I guess us Methodists like to hang around and visit.

So now every time I see a car backed into a parking space, I immediately think they must be Catholic.

MARY ANN RIDDLE

Baton Rouge

Questions and answers

Dear Smiley: Seeing the 100 year plus birthdays in your column reminds me of an interview with a man who was 100.

Asked, "Have you lived here (in that town) all your life?", He replied "Not yet."

J.B. CASTAGNOS

Donaldsonville


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.